The drug-testing system had a number of weaknesses, the report found, and Armstrong was clever enough to find his way through all of them.
Technically, Armstrong’s long-standing statement that he never failed a drug test was correct, but what he failed to say was that he had manipulated the system. It was an “error of omission” or, more simply put, a calculated lie.
He has paid the price for his doping and his deceit. His inspiring wins in the Tour de France have been invalidated, and with them his legacy, not to mention his inspiring story of “heroism.”
As for his foundation, it seems it would be difficult to carry on a mission that is built upon such a massive story of deceit. But the lure of hope and inspiration is strong, particularly for people facing cancer. The foundation’s chairman has reported that donations have actually increased during this latest round of credibility problems for Armstrong.
We’ll always have a soft spot for hero stories. We want to find inspiration in the stories of people who overcome adversity. But Lance Armstrong’s tale reminds us of the extreme lengths people will go to to create a cult of heroism.